Trip Report

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Posted by parsavr from ( on jueves, febrero 27, 2003 at 15:50:19 :

Left O’Hare Saturday Feb. 1st on an air only charter through Funjet. $249 this year, plus taxes & fees. You gotta love the charter companies, we have both Funjet & Apple that open seats to air only passengers for the direct flight down to Zihuatanejo. Arrived in Zihua @ 8:30 and its still warm & muggy at night. I’ve learned to bring a change of clothes for the plane so I’m in uniform when we land. No problems w/customs and got a Suburban to take Maureen & I, my daughter, son and their significant others and my nephew Adam to our respective lodgings in Zihua. The kids stayed at Villas Miramar, Maureen & I at Bungalows Pacificos and Adam at Hotel Suzy. In the six years I’ve been visiting Zihua I’ve always stayed in El Centro (except for the unfortunate 1st visit to Ixtapa). We tried Playa La Madera this year. I’ve mixed feelings…the views are much better but there is a walk to and from town and the prices are higher. We were in #1 at BP (out of 8 total), a typical tired Mexican room but everything worked, it was clean and the views were great. #’s 3 & 4 are the primo units but booked far in advance. $82 p/night. Villas Miramar was very nice w/pool and equally great views. A newer place, $110 p/night. Hotel Suzy was too noisy for Adam at $25 p/night so we moved him to Hotel Raul Marias (across the marina footbridge) at $20 p/night and he got his peace.

We went out after getting settled and met up at Tata’s on Playa Principal. We’ve found Tata’s to be our favorite beach place in town over the years and have most of our breakfasts and happy hours there. It’s almost adjacent to Daniel’s, but we’ve found the food to be much better. The kids wanted a late night meal so we walked them to Los Brasseros and said good night. The walkway from town out to La Madera has been rebuilt and with new lighting and new canal bridge was an easy walk at night.

Met at Tata’s for breakfast (great chilaquiles). Spent the day shopping, most at the artisan market, buying the necessary gifts for granddaughter, nieces & nephews. Today is also our 2nd wedding anniversary so Maureen got a lot of silver this year. Back to Tata’s for hora feliz! We all met at Puesta del Sol for dinner (almost next door to Kau Kan, same view, wonderful food & service and ½ the price). Puesta del Sol is one of our must do restaurants every year and a fitting place for our anniversary dinner. We’ve never been disappointed with the food and fun here. Be sure to get there @ 6:00pm so you can catch the sunset. The kids unexpectedly treated us to dinner for our anniversary.
The sounds of the ocean were loud tonight and were great to go to sleep with.

We met for breakfast on Monday morning at La Bocana, a popular morning spot with the locals. After a big breakfast we headed towards the pier to catch a water taxi to Las Gatas. We settled in at Otilio’s again and spent a required day swimming, eating & drinking with our old friend. (I got hooked into smoking one of his father’s terrible cigars again) We took a hike up and over to the lighthouse, El Faro, and it was worth the walk. Beautiful vistas. It takes about 15-20 minutes, is straight up and hot, so bring a bottle of water if you go. Back to town and just can’t walk past Tata’s during hora feliz! We all met at Paty’s Mar y Mar on La Ropa for a candlelit dinner, a table for seven in the sand at water’s edge. Stayed late and enjoyed the lights and ocean.

We enjoyed Paty’s so much we decided to meet there for breakfast Tuesday and spend the day on La Ropa. Towards the dinner hour we went back, showered and met every one on the walkway back into town and made our way to Elivra’s for dinner (not to be confused with Elvira’s on La Ropa). This Elvira’s is one of Zihua’s oldest restaurants and the food quality will show you why its been around so long. After dinner the kids went back to their hotel and Maureen & took a walk along Paseo Pescador and met our old friend Luis Munoz at his Sirena Gorda restaurant. We stayed with him last year at his new and charming B & B Los Chones in La Barra de Potosi, but he recently sold it to the women’s clothes designer Betsey Johnson, who is turning it into her private residence. Luis has taken charge of the restaurant again and it looks good. We usually stay with him in town also, but with only two apartments available we weren’t able to work out the dates this year.

Wednesday morning we were to all meet for breakfast at Daniel’s (kids choice). Adam, Maureen & I waited but finally ate without them. After breakfast we walked to the Navy PX store to buy a few supplies for our “move” out to La Barra de Potosi later in the day. Coming out of the PX we ran into my daughter and SO and they informed us they had spent the AM at the police station with my son, whose room was burgled during the night…while they were sleeping! The police had caught the guy and there was a bunch of paper-work to fill out along w/canceling all their credit cards. The ended up getting their wallet back w/1/2 their cash, but lost their camera and jewelry. So much for the newer places w/o bars on the windows.

We finished our shopping, went back to Bungalows Pacificos, checked out and caught a cab to Casa Frida, a B & B in La Barra de Potosi. We had seen the place last year, stayed next door actually, but it was still “a work in progress”. We couldn’t have been more surprised. Our hosts, Annabelle and Francois, are very artistic and have done a wonderful job completing the project. The three bungalows surround a new little plunge pool. The owner’s residence is above the kitchen dining area. The colors, furnishings and artwork overwhelm and you get a sense of being in a cultural museum. Our hosts are also very charming people and are well suited to running a B & B. Our bungalow was the newest and above an outdoor lounge area with hammocks, chairs & tables. Breakfast was included each day and lunch/dinner we took at La Condessa, a beachside enramada adjacent to Casa Frida.

La Barra is wonderfully “empty” again this year. We had the beach to ourselves except for Mexico’s Constitution Day, a holiday that brought a few busloads out to enjoy the beach with us. The ocean water was very warm and mostly calm. Did I mention I enjoy the occasional cigar? Mexico is a smoker’s paradise, nobody minds and I had many opportunities to enjoy a good smoke on this trip, especially on our long beach walks.

Francois is a tour guide and Annabella an actress. They live 5 months in La Barra, 5 months in San Miguel Allende and the rest of the time in Europe. We arranged for them to make a dinner for group on Friday, my birthday.

On Thursday the rest of the group joined us at Casa Frida. We had all three bungalows to ourselves and I found Adam a very nice room down the beach a bit owned by one of the enramada operators. The enramada La Condessa became our hangout and Lars & Adam set up the chessboard there in the AM and played all day. I think between the seven of us we managed to sample their entire menu during the 3 days there. As you can imagine, it is almost all fresh seafood…abalone, red snapper, shrimp, octopus, etc. Expensive too…$4 for a fresh shrimp dinner, $3.50 for the red snapper and beers are $.90 all day! Pretty close to paradise.

Friday we took a boat tour of the lagoon and a couple of shelling walks along the beach. At night we had my birthday party. Francois made a delicious beef burgundy, vichyssoise, salad and birthday cake.

Saturday was departure day, but our plane didn’t leave ‘til 9:00 PM. Francois graciously allowed us keep our things at Casa Frida for the day and use their bathrooms for cleaning up and changing for the trip home. We spent the day at La Condessa and on the beach finishing up our reading, crosswords, final chess games and that last big cigar. Two cabs to the airport and an uneventful flight home. Temperature upon arrival….8 degrees!
Another wonderful trip that convinces us our decision to keep returning to Zihua is the right one. Our only dilemma now is whether to spend all of our time in La Barra, and just venture into Zihua on a few day-trips to get our shopping and dining done. Decisions, decisions. After six visits, Zihua holds more charm for me than it did the first time. It does that to people.

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